essential to look at your compatibility
from a third person’s perspective. Do
you enjoy each other’s company over
a period of time? Can you talk to your
partner about anything? The right person
will support your growth, respect you as
a woman, and what you stand for.
Expected Adjustments
When Shantanu Trivedi* married
Priyanka Mehta*, both advertising
professionals, Delhi, after a whirlwind
courtship, he didn’t realize how
important Priyanka’s career was to her.
He just assumed that since he earned
enough for both of them, she would
prioritize home before a late-night
meeting. It was only after a series of
blazing rows and a year-long separation,
that he accepted that his wife’s
career was equally important. When
expectations are not spelt out clearly
at the beginning, there is bound to be
trouble. It is important to know what
role both partners are expected to play
in the family and how much they can
adjust. Even the boy needs to know what
to expect, since today, many women
are looking after their parents. In that
case, the responsibilities that need to be
shared, have to be clear.
Living Arrangements
Sometimes everything falls into
place in a marriage, but post a change,
the foundation shakes up. Riya Sinha*,
IT professional, Bangalore, lost her
father five years after she got married.
Being an only child, it was apparent that
she had to take responsibility for her
mother’s well-being. When her mother
moved in, her husband didn’t realize
that it was a lifelong shift. Months later,
the fights began, culminating eventually
in a trial separation. Many divorces
happen today because of uncomfortable
living arrangements. While some of
these arrangements happen right away,
often they happen after parents become
old and have to move in. It is important
to have a realistic view about a situation
and understand that an arrangement
can change. Given this situation, it is
important to understand what would be
expected of you and how much you will
be willing to change.
Your Partner’s History
In the case of an arranged
marriage, it is impossible to find out
about how many women he has dated in
a few meetings. Still, it must not deter
you from having an open discussion
about the past. There may not be a
full disclosure but sometimes a partial
disclosure is good enough. Today, a
partner’s past is one of the main reasons
for divorce. Often, many are still in
touch with their ex, which causes a lot
of acrimony and messy divorces. While
it is impossible to know right away how
many women make up his past, it is
possible to let him know who you don’t
want in the present. His company is also
a huge indication of who he is. However,
if one of his friends is a womanizer, it
What to
Get rid of unreal expectations
w ith this reality check:
From simple
habits to surprising events in life.
A late-night family
dinner may clash with an early
morning presentation.
does not make him one. What matters
are his views and attitude towards it.
His Parents and Family
A child’s experiences always
influence his behaviour in adulthood.
If your future husband comes from
a family where his mother was a
homemaker, he is bound to have similar
expectations from you. Similarly if he
has seen his father cheat on his mother,
he probably won’t think of an affair as a
big deal. While a person’s background is
never a deal-breaker, it should prepare
you for the road ahead. In the case of
arranged marriages, it may not come
across in the first meeting, but prudent
questioning should give you an idea.
Spending Habits
People are either spenders or
savers, and a couple is made up of one
of each, with expected disagreements
about money. But, if the two people have
diametrically opposite views on how
money should be spent or saved, it may
cause distress and lead to a divorce. Nina
Savant, banker, Delhi, came from a free-
spending family and was surprised when
her husband thought that a designer bag,
bought from her salary was a huge drain
on their combined resources. On the
other hand, she thought her husband’s
frugal attitude didn’t let them enjoy life
fully. Since these are habits of a lifetime
and difficult to change, Savant is now
divorced from her husband. When
it comes to money it is best to keep
separate accounts. Also be clear about
who will spend and who will save.
Sex and Birth Control
It is assumed that people want
children simply because they are
married, but this may not be true.
Therefore it needs to be discussed
thoroughly—along with birth control
methods. In arranged marriages, it
is also essential to find out his views
on intimacy. Will it be an emotional
intimacy followed by the physical
intimacy, or the other way round? You
can judge this in the first few meetings
when your instinct will tell you if he will
give you the sexual space you need. ■
*These names have been changed.
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